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  • Writer's picturePeter K F Cheung SBS

Walking On Eggshells

  1. FADE IN

  2. Act 1

  3. INT. STUDY - 10:30

  4. Smart phone in hand, PETER is reading a Quora answer request .

  5. PETER (V.O.): It's from one of my loyal fans.

  6. We see on screen: How did a host make you (as an invited guest) feel like you were walking on eggshells during your stay?

  7. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I've never had such an encounter.

  8. Pausing.

  9. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): If the relationship was weak, I wouldn't have been invited.

  10. Thinking.

  11. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Even if I was invited, I might not accept it. And if I accepted it, I wouldn't offend the host...and so I'd be walking on eggshells myself?

  12. Recalling.

  13. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Now, I can recall a similar incident in Summer, 1987.

  14. Act 2


  16. EXT. STREETS, THE HAGUE - DAY (August 1987)

  17. Carrying a baggage, Peter stops at a house front.

  18. PETER (V.O.): Here it is. The secretariat of the Hague Academy of International Law arranged my 3-week stay here.

  19. Ringing the door bell, an old LADY (70s) opens the door.

  20. LADY: You must be Peter. You came from Hong Kong or London?

  21. PETER: Yes! Mrs Insinger. I actually came from Strasbourg, France. I've just done a Human Rights course there.

  22. LADY: Your room is on 1/F. Deposit your baggage and come down for dinner.

  23. PETER: Yes, it's already late in the day.


  25. Joining the host, Peter sees cornflakes, milk and some strawberries on the table.

  26. PETER (V.O.): It seems that's all.

  27. Following the host, Peter helps himself to the cold stuff.

  28. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Is it the Dutch way to eat like a pauper for dinner?

  29. Small talks.

  30. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I mustn't forget that I paid a modest half-board fee.


  32. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): The next morning, I had the same for breakfast.

  33. Pausing.

  34. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Thereafter, after attending the Academy course, I had Nasi Goreng at Scheveningen instead.

  35. Pausing.

  36. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): When I was later introduced to her friend who was a former Dutch ConsuI-General to Hong Kong, I learned that my host was a diplomat's widow.

  37. Recalling.

  38. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): One morning, while I was leaving the house, I witnessed a heated exchange in Dutch between an aggressive woman outside and my defensive host.

  39. Recalling.

  40. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): As I was wondering, the woman remarked to me that she was the house owner and didn't permit my host to sublet the house.

  41. Pausing.

  42. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Feel like walking on eggshells, I made myself less visible by travelling elsewhere during weekends.

  43. Recalling.

  44. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): In 2002, with the help from her diplomat friend, I revisited my former host in an elderly home.

  45. Recalling.

  46. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): In her 90s, she just stared at me and didn't say a word.

  47. Pausing.

  48. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): When I gave her some money, she was a little responsive.

  49. Recalling.

  50. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Months later, I received a notice in Dutch about her death. And later, a similar notice of her diplomat friend.

  51. Act 3


  53. Peter uses his hand to support his head.

  54. PETER (V.O.): These memories are decades old.

  55. Pausing.

  56. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): In August, 2014, my younger son and I had an European tour. One of our destinations was the Netherlands.

  57. Peter checks his diaries on screen.

  58. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Father and son spent 13 days together, from London to Rome. I still feel good.

  59. Selecting a windmill image from his phone, Peter inserts it to his Quora answer draft.

  60. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I'm grateful to my Quora fan for helping me to take good care of my memories.

  61. Peter taps Post on screen.

  62. FADE OUT

  63. THE END

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